California Energy Commission Letterhead
 

Notice of BLM and Energy Commission
Staff Workshop for the
SES Solar One Project (08-AFC-13)
(BLM Right-of-Way Application CACA 49537 and
CACA 49539)

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the California Energy Commission (Energy Commission) will conduct a staff workshop for the Stirling Energy Systems Solar One (SES Solar One) Project on December 22, 2009. The primary purpose of the workshop is to discuss biological resources and the Lugo-Pisgah transmission line upgrades to be addressed in the joint environmental documents for the SES Solar One Project, however other issues on the case may be addressed. All interested agencies and members of the public are invited to participate. The workshop will be held:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009
10:00 A.M.
California Energy Commission
Hearing Room B
1516 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

(Wheelchair Accessible)
(Map Attached)

To Participate Remotely:
Instructions to Connect via Telephone Only (No Computer Access)

  1. Call: 1-866-469-3239 When prompted enter this meeting number: 927 126 247
  2. When it asks for Attendee ID press: #

Instructions to Connect via Computer Logon with a Direct Phone Number

  1. Go to https://energy.webex.com and enter the unique meeting number: 927 126 247
  2. When prompted, enter your information and the following meeting password: SITING123!
  3. After you login, a prompt will appear on-screen for you to provide your phone number. In the Number box, type your area code and phone number and click OK to receive a call back on your phone for the audio of the meeting. International callers can use the "Country/Region" button to help make their connection.

Purpose of the Workshop

The BLM and Energy Commission are currently reviewing Stirling Energy System's (SES's) Application for Certification for the proposed development of the SES Solar One Project. To facilitate its review of the joint Application for Certification and Environmental Impact Statement process, the BLM and Energy Commission staff need to identify mitigation for potential biological resource impacts and the potential environmental and engineering impacts of upgrading the existing Southern California Edison (SCE) Lugo-Pisgah transmission line to 500 kV.

Project Description

The proposed project would utilize SunCatcher technology, consisting of approximately 34,000 25-kilowatt solar power dishes with a generating capacity of approximately 850 megawatts (MW). The project will be constructed in two phases. Phase I of the project will consist of up to 20,000 SunCatchers configured in 333 1.5-MW solar groups of 60 SunCatchers per group and have a net nominal generating capacity of 500 MW. Phase II will add approximately 14,000 SunCatchers, expanding the project to a total of approximately 34,000 SunCatchers configured in 567-1.5-MW solar groups with a total net generating capacity of 850 MW. Each SunCatcher system consists of an approximate 38-foot high by 40-foot wide solar concentrator dish that supports an array of curved glass mirror facets designed to automatically track the sun and focus solar energy onto a Power Conversion Unit which generates electricity.

The project would include the construction of a new 230-kilovolt (kV) substation approximately in the center of the project site. This new substation would be connected to the existing SCE Pisgah Substation adjacent to the project site via approximately 2-miles (0.14-mile off-site) of single-circuit, 220kV transmission line. In addition to this interconnection transmission line that will be constructed by SES Solar, LLC, the proposed project would require SCE to expand and upgrade the existing 220kV SCE Pisgah Substation to support the increase in voltage to 500kV, loop the Eldorado-Lugo 500kV line into the SCE Pisgah Substation and demolish approximately 65 miles of the existing Lugo-Pisgah No. 2 220kV transmission line and replace it with 500kV towers and conductor. In addition, modifications within the SCE Eldorado and Lugo substations will be required.

Background and Agency Roles in the Process

California Energy Commission
As the lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the Energy Commission is responsible for reviewing and ultimately approving or denying all applications to construct and operate thermal electric power plants, 50 MW and greater, in California. The Energy Commission facility certification process carefully examines public health and safety, environmental impacts and engineering aspects of proposed power plants and all related facilities such as electric transmission lines and natural gas and water pipelines. On May 6, 2009, the Energy Commission began review of the project. During the review period, Energy Commission staff will determine whether the proposed project complies with applicable laws related to public health and safety, environmental impacts, and engineering requirements.

Bureau of Land Management
Under federal law, the BLM is responsible for processing applications for rights-of-way to authorize the proposed project and associated transmission lines and other facilities to be constructed and operated on land it manages. In processing applications, the BLM must comply with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires that federal agencies consider the environmental impacts associated with the projects they approve.

The purpose of the BLM action is to provide the applicant a decision in processing its application for a right-of-way (ROW) grant for legal use and access of the public lands in Imperial County, California managed by the BLM. The need for BLM action is established by the BLM's responsibility under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), NEPA and other federal laws to respond to SES's request for a ROW for legal access to construct, operate and decommission a proposed concentrated solar thermal generation plant and related facilities on the public lands. For the decision to be made, BLM will decide whether or not to grant a ROW, and if so, under what terms and conditions.

The proposal would also create the need for amending the BLM California Desert Conservation Plan 1980 (CDCP). The purpose of the CDCP amendment is to ensure the public lands are managed through land use planning according to the principles of multiple use identified in FLPMA while managing valid existing rights and other obligations established. The proposed amendment is necessary to address changing resource demands and technological development proposals on public lands. The CDCP as amended requires (page 95) that "Sites associated with power generation or transmission not identified in the Plan (as is this case) will be considered through the Plan Amendment process."

The Joint Agency Memorandum of Understanding
Pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the BLM and the Energy Commission staff intend to conduct a joint environmental review of the SES Solar Two Project in a NEPA/ CEQA process. It is in the interest of the BLM and the Energy Commission to share in the preparation of a joint environmental analysis of the proposed project to avoid duplication of staff efforts, to share staff expertise and information, to promote intergovernmental coordination at the local, state, and federal levels, and to facilitate public review by providing a joint document and a more efficient environmental review process.

Public Participation

The Energy Commission's Public Adviser's Office provides the public with assistance in participating in Commission activities. If you want information on how to participate in this proceeding, please contact the Deputy Public Adviser, Loreen McMahon, at: (916) 654-4489, toll free at (800) 822-6228, by FAX at (916) 654-4493, or by e-mail at publicadviser@energy.state.ca.us If you have a disability and require assistance to participate, please contact Lourdes Quiroz, the Energy Commission Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, at lquiroz@energy.state.ca.us or at (916) 654-5146 at least five days in advance or the workshop. For those persons with limited English knowledge, request interpreter services by contacting Christopher Meyer, the Energy Commission Project Manager (contact information provided below).

Questions

General information about the proposed generating facility and related documents are available on the Energy Commission's website at: http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/solarone/index.html or the BLM's website at: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/barstow.html. Please direct all news media inquiries to the Energy Commission's media office at (916) 654-4989 or e-mail at mediaoffice@energy.state.ca.us. For technical questions on the subject matter, please contact Christopher Meyer, the Energy Commission Project Manager, at (916) 653-1639 or by e-mail at cmeyer@energy.state.ca.us or Jim Stobaugh, the BLM Project Manager, at (775) 861-6478 or by e-mail at: jim_stobaugh@blm.gov. If you are unable to attend the workshop, written comments may be sent to the Energy Commission Project Manager electronically or to the Energy Commission's street address shown on the letterhead of this notice.

Date: December 7, 2009

_______/ SIGNED /________
TERRENCE O'BRIEN, Deputy Director
Siting, Transmission, and Environmental Protection Division